hvac system

Tips and Factors to Consider When Choosing a New HVAC System

When you’re buying a new HVAC system for your home, your foremost consideration is getting something that can provide appropriate heating and cooling. Although most homeowners feel like it is an advantage to see a lot of options to choose from, the wide variety of choices can actually lead to more confusion. In fact, many don’t really understand what separates one from the other.

In order to figure out the best HVAC system based on your specific needs, setting, and perhaps energy-saving goals, you have to understand the factors to consider. This article is all about those factors.

In the website, MyEngineeringWorld.net, there is an article there titled “8 Key Factors That Affect The Selection Of A HVAC System.” Of the eight listed factors, we quoted three of them below, the ones we think are essential for you to learn.

Preference Of The Building Owner

The individual (or company/organization) that decides to build, expand, or renovate a building may actually own and occupy the facility, or may be a contractor whose business is to lease and/or sell the building. Some owners and contractors have preferences toward certain HVAC systems, possibly based on past experience. It is important to note that the motivations affecting building decisions often differ between an owner and a contractor. This doesn’t mean that what is important to an owner is not important to a contractor, but rather that each has different priorities when approaching a building project.

If an owner will occupy the building, life-cycle cost, maintenance cost, system reliability, and a productive work environment may be emphasized in the decision-making process. The selection of the HVAC system becomes more personal when the owner has to work or live in the building. A contractor typically has two motivations. First is the financial performance of the project. Second is the ability to attract and retain tenants. These concerns are related because the financial success of a project depends on the contractor’s ability to market the building to prospective tenants, who are often the only source of operating income. Some contractors may sell the property quickly, either upon completion of construction or within one to three years. For this reason, first cost, building marketability, ability to bill individual tenants for energy use, and flexible work space may be most important to them.

Available Construction Budget

The available budget for purchasing and installing the HVAC system may be imposed on the design team by the owner or contractor, or it may be calculated with the aid of the design team. If the owner or the contractor has predetermined what money is available to construct the building, then the design team is challenged to provide an HVAC system that meets the requirements of the building with the available money. This is not always an easy thing to do! Often, some requirements are sacrificed along the way because the stated requirements do not match the available budget to meet those requirements.

Architectural Limitations

The thousands of different components that make up a building must all fit together in a coordinated way. Many buildings are designed to make an architectural statement. It may be hard to make that statement with a cooling tower on the front lawn or packaged DX units in every window. However, there are creative ways to conceal equipment for aesthetic reasons. The floor-to-floor height is generally squeezed as tight as possible to reduce construction costs, or in the case of taller buildings, to get as many floors in the building as possible. This results in limited space in the ceiling plenum. This can be particularly challenging for a central air-handling system, and may result in the use of a system, such as chilled-water terminal units or water-source heat pumps, where the equipment is located closer to each zone.

Sometimes, building trades can influence the type of HVAC system installed. In some geographical regions, sheet-metal trades prefer to install “dry” systems, that is, systems with central equipment rooms that duct supply air throughout the building. In other regions, plumbing trades prefer to install “wet” systems with piping that runs throughout the building.

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The factors mentioned above apply both to residential and commercial settings. Simply put, you would want to weigh on those three if you are planning to buy a new HVAC system and have it installed in your home or a building you own for business or commercial purposes.

image credit: AngiesList.com)
image credit: AngiesList.com)

As we mentioned before, the wide range of HVAC options could become a dilemma for you once you begin looking at those options. However, if you consider and take a very close look at those three factors above, there is a guarantee that you will eventually be able to narrow down your choices.

Next up, here’s a good bunch of tips from the article, “Choosing an HVAC System” at BobVila.com. This time, these tips are more on smart shopping instead of the more technical considerations. Anyhow, read them below and you’ll realize how little you actually know about buying an HVAC system.

The Air-Conditioning Option. As a rule of thumb, if local temperatures rarely rise above 85 degrees Fahrenheit, you probably don’t need central air-conditioning. On the other hand, central air is often regarded by realtors as a valuable selling point, so if there’s a chance you’ll be transferred to another region or are likely to put your home on the market for any reason in the near future, central air-conditioning may be a good investment. Top-of-the-market houses get top-of-the-market prices because they have all the bells and whistles. For people with asthma and other allergy problems, central air with its ability to filter and “condition” household air can also have health benefits.

Beware of Oversize Systems. Strange though it may sound, too much heating capacity will make a system less efficient. It will cause the system to cycle on and off frequently, producing excess wear and tear on the components. The system may never reach peak operating temperatures.

To be sure your system is suited to your home, ask your HVAC contractor, heating engineer, or whoever designed the system to walk you through the calculation. The process consists of determining what the heating load is (based on an arithmetical formula that factors in the size of your home, its insulation, and the local climate). The system capacity should be no more than 25 percent greater than the calculated heating load.

Simple Is Usually Less Expensive. Staying with your existing system is almost certainly the cheapest route. If your system has enough capacity that it can be extended to heat (or cool) new spaces, that approach will probably be less expensive than installing an all-new system.

Buy Quality. Good shoppers don’t always buy bargains. Buying durable boilers or furnaces that come with long warranties often costs more initially but, over the years, presents fewer headaches. Good furnaces often are guaranteed for twenty years, boilers for thirty, heat pumps for less.

Think Locally. Don’t buy equipment that no one in your area can service. If the only HVAC contractor who’ll bid your job is a long-distance call away, you could be asking for trouble. These sophisticated modern systems require occasional checkups by service people familiar with their design, installation, and individual characteristics. One industry study found that half of all service calls were the result of improper or insufficient maintenance.

Source: http://www.bobvila.com/articles/39-choosing-an-hvac-system/#.V9iqmih97IU

The entire process of purchasing a new system to provide heating and cooling at home won’t become that much of a heavy burden if you know what you are doing. The reason why a lot of people turn out to make a bad investment on an HVAC is because they initially thought it was just as simple as a walk in the park. No, it isn’t. Just like when you’re buying a new car or house, you have to think it through and look at all the factors needed to be considered.